Aerial view of UC Berkeley

About the University

The University of California, Berkeley is one of the world’s preeminent teaching and research institutions. Since 1868, Berkeley has fueled a perpetual renaissance, generating unparalleled intellectual, economic and social value in California, the United States and the world. Berkeley’s culture of openness, freedom and acceptance—academic and artistic, political and cultural—provides opportunities for students, faculty and staff found nowhere else.

In accordance with UC’s “public” character, the university has long served talented individuals regardless of means. As early as 1897, financial aid was available for “needy and deserving” students. More than a century later, UC Berkeley combines outstanding teaching and research programs with broad access for students of all means—educating more federal Pell Grant recipients from low-income families than all eight Ivy League universities combined. Close to 30 percent of UC Berkeley freshmen are the first in their families to attend college.

Founded in the wake of the gold rush by leaders of the newly established 31st state, the University of California’s flagship campus at Berkeley has become a catalyst of economic growth and social innovation. Its early guiding lights, charged with providing education for the state’s people, gradually established a distinguished faculty (with 22 Nobel laureates to date), a stellar research library, and more than 350 academic programs.

In recognition of broad and deep excellence, respected sources have repeatedly ranked UC Berkeley at or near the top in fields ranging from engineering and the “hard” sciences to the social sciences, arts, and humanities. Notably, a National Research Council analysis of U.S. universities concluded that UC Berkeley has the largest number of highly ranked graduate programs in the country and found that 48 out of 52 Berkeley programs assessed ranked within the top 10 nationally.

In 2013, President Obama ranked UC Berkeley as the fifth most valuable college in the U.S. The list of the top 100 colleges analyzed various value metrics to isolate the schools that not only make college affordable, but also excel when it comes to student services and academic and professional success.